Heavy police deployment at Ghanta Ghar market in Meerut | Photo: Praveen Jain | The Print
Five people lost their lives due to police firing during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Meerut on December 19, 2019. The deceased have been identified as Mohsin, Aasif, Zaheer, Aleem, residents of Meerut, Asif from Delhi.
After December 19, the team of Chal Chitra Abhiyaan met the families of Aleem, 24, Zaheer, 45 and Aasif, 20 about the incident.
“When a lone Muslim raises his voice, he gets shot” – Mohammed Salauddin, Aleem’s brother.
Mohammed Salauddin, Aleem’s brother said, “One of my relatives called me to tell me that Aleem had been shot. I couldn’t confirm what had happened as nobody knew of the details of the incident. My family was very tensed. Someone told me that Aleem’s shop had been shut by the police. Aleem was returning home from Hapur Adda where he had gone to take some stuff and on his way back home, he was shot. He was shot in the head and his head was blown off.”
Speaking of the post mortem report, Burran, Aleem’s nephew said, “We haven’t received the post-mortem report yet. We will get it after a few days.”
Responding to interviewer from Chal Chitra AAbhiyaan asked Burran about reports doing the round that a case was filed on Aleem instead of the police, Burran said, “We had spoken to the media about the same. But the media did not even print one true word about the matter. Due to the pressure from the police, they wrote in favour of the force and did not put forth what we said.”
A sobbing Salauddin told Chal Chitra Abhiyaan, “When a lone Muslim raises his voice, he gets shot. I had requested for a home under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, but that was not accepted. What did I get instead? My brother’s dead body and bullets. To top that, they have filed an FIR against us and are planning to take us to court.”
“My father doesn’t have any proof of age / citizenship. Where will get documents from to save his children? I was born in 1984, I don’t have a birth certificate, I have an Aadhaar and Voter ID card. Where will I get proof from to show to the government?” he further questioned.
“His dead body lay on the spot till 6:30 PM” – Id-ul-Hassan, Aasif’s father.
“Aasif was 20 years old. He used to drive an auto rickshaw. He was returning home from work when he was shot in his chest. His body lay at the spot he was shot till 6:30 PM. We haven’t received the post mortem report, nor the Aadhaar card that we’d submitted. They were not letting us take him home. Only when the MLAs like Adil Chaudhary and Rafiq Ansari among others pressured the officials, they handed over Aasif’s body to us” said Id-ul-Hassan, Aasif’s father.
Nasreen, Aasif’s mother told ChalChitra Abhiyaan that the police was pressuring people and entering homes trying to take their children away. Her child was gone and that there was no happiness there anymore.
“The bullet hit him in his head and he died on the spot” – Shahid, Zaheer’s brother.
“Zaheer was a labourer. He had returned home from work and was sitting in the verandah. He left home for a haircut as there was a wedding in the family the next day. He was sitting at the shop, smoking, when someone fired shots. There were some short men in yellow uniforms with the police. The bullet hit him in his head and he died on the spot. He was 45 years old. He has a wife and a 22-year-old daughter. The police is saying it was the rioters who did it, but it is not ready to reveal who was rioting. The police broke down all the CCTV cameras on the road, so how will they identify the culprits. They have deleted the evidence and are now targeting us and beating us up for something we haven’t done. We haven’t even received the post-mortem report yet,” said Shahid, Zaheer’s brother.
A shopkeeper from whom Zaheer had bought cigarettes that fateful night said, “He took a pack of cigarettes from me and sat next to my shop. The police came two hundred meters in and shot him. The bullet pierced his temple and he fell and died on the spot. We took him to the hospital, but the doctors had declared him dead.”
Other witnesses confirmed the incident saying that the police was entering lanes and killing people. They weren’t firing from the main road. When the interviewer asked them, was it the police or someone else, they only had one thing to say, “It was the police. Who else could it be?”
It has been reported that around 18 people, including an 8-year-old boy have lost their lives in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the anti-CAA and NRC protests. More than 5,000 people have been taken into custody and around 705 people have been sent to jail. Many police officials have also been injured in the agitation and the force has now set out to seize properties of ‘identified rioters’.
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